- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2017

Marijuana sales in Colorado, the first state in the nation to legalize recreational weed, surpassed $750 million during the first half of 2017, up about 25 percent compared to the first six months of 2016.

Colorado’s legal dispensaries sold about $531.6 million in recreational marijuana between Jan. 1 and June 30 and another $219.7 million in medial marijuana during that same span, according to statistics published Thursday by the state’s Department of Revenue.

Combined the sales totaled $741,273,544, or about 25.7 percent more than the state’s marijuana dispensaries generated during the first half of 2016, The Cannabist reported.

Taking into account associated taxes and licensing fees, Colorado stands to earn roughly $116 million in tax revenue from the first six months of recreational and medical marijuana sales this year, the report said.

Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana sales, paving the way for the nation’s first retail pot shops to open their doors Jan. 1, 2014. Those dispensaries sold roughly $699.2 million worth of recreational and medical marijuana during their first year of operation, about $996.2 million in weed their second year and about $1.3 billion during 2016.

In terms of marijuana taxes, so far Colorado has collected more than $500 million since implementing the nation’s first state-sanctioned framework for retail pot sales in 2014. Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Nevada have since followed suit, and recreational weed sales are expected to start legally next year in California, Maine and Massachusetts.

Marijuana is outlawed by the federal government, but the Obama administration elected not to intervene in states where voters passed laws legalizing the plant for recreational or medical use. Last month, meanwhile, Trump administration officials conducted a fact-finding trip to Colorado focused on studying nation’s first recreational marijuana marketplace and its effects so far.

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